Five Ways arrived at Copsewood RFC with high expectations following a run of good results in their opening few games of the season. This did not, however, mean that Five Ways would be complacent.
Early exchanges between the teams were close with ways slightly coming on top. Good early structure from the forwards seemed to be what set the sides apart. An great example of this was prop Kyle Mitchell who showed great strength to make a couple of early breaks and put Five Ways on the front foot. What seemed to set the forward packs apart would be that Ways always had someone in support, this could just be one other person or it could be a wave of three or four support runners. This meant that the offloads were many. The success rate, however, was questionable and often just one pass too many.
The deadlock was broken after ten minutes with winger Martin Harrison continuing to add to his impressive tally for the season. It was clear though that Copsewood were not going down without a fight. Their very forward orientated game was hammered backwards by the Five Ways back row combination of Tom Dacre and James Mounter who lead the defence throughout the game. Big carries from Nathan Penn also took some of the air out of the Copsewood sails.
The constant carries from the pack lead to space being created in the wider channels which was penetrated well by the back three, who were in constant communication with each other, and were able to pin point exactly where they wanted to go. Returning winger, Tom Griffiths showed his raw pace with a blistering run down the wing to score in the corner. If it wasn't for a few drop balls on the counter attacks, the score could have been higher.
Towards the end of the first half ways started to lose the momentum they had thought so hard for. The forwards continued to graft away and secure clean ball but, unfortunately, the backs, who have been so slick and precise so far this season, were not clicking and possession was lost far more than it should.
Copsewood were not ready to rollover though and gained a penalty. After a decent kick to the corner, they secured ball from the lineout and the forwards packed in and got a good drive on. The heavy pack continued forward and piled over the line for a well deserved try.
The scrums were a mixed bag in this game, sometimes holding steady, sometimes Ways were knocked back and sometimes Ways got a shove on. The tight five had an excellent game in controlling the set piece with almost 100% line out wins and 100% ball won on our own scrum. As well as controlling our set piece the pack also did a extremely good job of disrupting their set piece. This meant that from the line out they would often have to throw to the rear due to the pressure from the front of the lineout. Due to this constant clean ball the backs were able to capitalise.
In the second half this was made very clear as Copsewood began to tire and the backs started to spot holes in what had been a tight defence. Tries came in quick succession after Robin Hadley made a break through and managed to go all the way and score under the posts. From the following restart the ball was collected by Craig Davies who secured the ball cleanly and the following play resulted in the a try for winger John Meredith who has made an impressive start to the season. Both were converted by Jess Banner.
Five Ways continued to show their determination and further tries followed for James Mounter, Nathan Penn, John Mounter and Robin Hadley who grabbed his second of the game. Jess Banner kicked a further 3 conversions leaving the final score 50 - 14. A solid result but plenty of aspects to work on for Five Ways heading into their top of the table clash against Birmingham Exiles.